MILWAUKEE (AP) — For three consecutive innings in a marathon game, the Milwaukee Brewers had chances to beat the Washington Nationals.
But the Nationals bullpen held them in check until Ryan Zimmerman won the game for Washington.
Zimmerman’s two-run home run in the 16th inning lifted Washington to a 4-2 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night. He hit a 2-0 pitch off seldom-used Mike Fiers (0-1) over the wall in left field with Adam LaRoche on base, giving the Nationals their fourth consecutive win.
Fiers had only pitched three innings since being recalled from the minor leagues on June 6 and his arm wasn’t built up to pitch four consecutive innings.
“I know he gave up the home run but he threw the ball well,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
The Brewers were down to two relievers in the bullpen, including rookie Wei-Chung Wang, so Fiers had to stay in the game.
“My velocity was down a little bit,” he said. “I haven’t pitched four innings in a month. I think I felt pretty decent up to that point.”
Tyler Clippard (5-2) pitched a scoreless 15th for the win. Rafael Soriano pitched the 16th for his 18th save as the Washington bullpen pitched 10 scoreless innings.
With one out in the 16th, LaRoche hit a sharp single that bounced off the wall in right field. Zimmerman then hit his third home run of the year to give the Nationals the lead in a game that took 5 hours, 22 minutes.
The Brewers threatened in the 13th, 14th and 15th innings, but couldn’t score.
“We lost the game because we didn’t get good at-bats when we needed a hit,” Roenicke said.
Lyle Overbay was stranded on third base in the 13th when Carlos Gomez hit a soft liner to shortstop to end the inning.
In the 14th, Denard Span kept the Nationals alive with a leaping catch at the wall to rob Elian Herrera of an extra-base hit that likely would have scored Khris Davis from first and won the game for Milwaukee.
Gomez popped out to end the 15th with Scooter Gennett on second.
Nationals manager Matt Williams intentionally walked Jonathan Lucroy in both the 13th and 15th innings to face Gomez, and the move worked both times to end threats.
“He’s one of the best hitters in the league,” Williams said of Lucroy. “It’s an opportunity to potentially get around him. We had to pick our poison there.”
The Nationals were down to their final five outs when Anthony Rendon hit his 12th homer of the year, a solo shot, to right-center off Will Smith with one out in the eighth to tie the score at 2.
That’s when the bullpens took over. Neither team could get a runner in scoring position after Rendon’s homer until the Brewers fruitless rally in the 13th.
The Brewers, who came into the series second in the NL in runs, lost 3-0 on Monday night.
Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo allowed one run, four hits and two walks with five strikeouts, leaving after throwing 104 pitches in six innings. In his last four starts, he is 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
Washington starter Jordan Zimmermann pitched six innings, allowing two runs, six hits and two walks while striking out nine. In his last three starts, he is 0-2 with a no-decision despite having a 2.14 ERA in those games.
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